BELMONT, N.C. -- DeQuan Abrom scored 20 points and Deion Lane added a double-double of 15 points and 11 rebounds, but Conference Carolinas leader Mount Olive hung on for a 75-71 victory over Belmont Abbey Saturday afternoon at the Wheeler Center. The double-double was the 10th of the season and 16th in the career of Lane. Jamaal Matin of Mount Olive led all scorers with 22 points.
Belmont Abbey led in the early minutes of the contest, but Mount Olive broke a 5-5 tie with a 14-4 run to lead by double digits at the 13:14 mark. The Trojans' lead was 11 at 27-16, when the Crusaders answered with a 12-2 spurt that trimmed the margin to one, 29-28 with just under two minutes to play. The teams went to the locker room tied at 32 after Lane made a pair of free throws with 32 seconds remaining.
The second half featured two ties and eight lead changes, the majority of which came with under 10 minutes to play. UMO was up 51-50 when the teams traded leads over the three possessions before a three-pointer put the Trojans ahead 56-54 with 8:01 to play. A three by Ben Ferguson switched the lead again, 58-57 at the 7:06 mark, before Mount Olive tallied five in a row to reverse 60-59 deficit and never trailed again.
A key basket came with 1:03 to play when Matin hit an off-balance three-pointer as the shot expired, pushing the lead from 66-64 to 69-64. The Crusaders kept the pressure up with a Lane layup with 46 seconds remaining, but UMO countered 27 ticks later. Jacob Wilson hit a jumper just inside the three-point line with 14 seconds left to bring the margin back to three and another with three seconds left to make it a two-point game, but perfect free throw shooting around the second basket preserved the victory.
Belmont Abbey hits the road on Wednesday for a key battle at North Greenville. The two Crusaders have clinched league tournament berths but currently sit sixth and seventh in the overall standings.